Employment Security Department
County : All / Benton / Chelan / Clark / King / Snohomish / Whatcom / Whitman
Resource Category : Employment

Unemployment benefits

What are unemployment benefits?
Unemployment benefits are made available through taxes paid by your former employer(s) to partially replace your regular earnings and help you meet expenses while you look for another job. These benefits are intended to assist workers who lost their jobs through no fault of their own and are not based on financial need. While receiving benefits, it’s your responsibility to get back to work as quickly as you can.

COVID-19 (coronavirus) update

Emergency rules have been adopted for workers and employers affected by COVID-19.
If you are unemployed due to COVID-19, check the COVID-19 page for details specific to your situation and download the unemployment application checklist to prepare before you apply.

Now hiring: Employment Security is hiring additional staff in claims center operations. See ESD’s available jobs page at careers.wa.gov, and filter for Job Category “Insurance.”


How to apply for unemployment benefits

The fastest way to apply for benefits is online.  While you can file by phone, you should expect extended wait times. There are no in-person unemployment offices in Washington state. Even if you go to a WorkSource office, you will still be directed to apply for unemployment benefits online or by phone. These steps will help guide you through the process.

Dealing with fraud
We take fraud seriously. Misrepresenting or knowingly withholding information is considered fraud and you may be denied benefits for future weeks, have to pay back benefits you have received, and be subject to additional penalties.
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